Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that is naturally prevalent in many areas of the United States. It is tasteless, odorless and invisible, is caused by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and is carried by the air. You want to make sure that it does not travel into your home, where you can suffer long-term exposure.
Fortunately, you can have your home tested for radon, and if it is found there, you can have it rectified. Your home should be tested for radon, and if elevated levels are discovered, the appropriate steps must be taken.
Testing for radon is generally done prior to the purchase of your home. If radon is found and mitigation efforts are performed, the EPA suggests having your home retested immediately and then every two years
When it comes to radon testing, different states have different requirements. According to the EPA, some states provide lists of contractors who can come to your home and perform the testing, and other states provide free or discounted kits so you can test for radon yourself. Click here for information about radon testing in your state.
If you decide to go the self-testing route, you should follow the directions that come with the kit. But, here are the basic steps that are usually involved:
Step 1. Purchase a radon test kit from the hardware store.
Step 2. Close the windows and doors, keeping them closed during the test. HVAC systems may be left operating. Be certain windows and doors are shut for at least 12 hours prior to the test
Step 3. Place the opened kit in the basement or first floor. Have it elevated at least 20 inches above the floor, away from drafts or high heat.
Step 4. Leave the opened radon test kit for as long as the instructions recommend.
Step 5. When the radon test is finished, follow the directions about sending the kit to the lab for the results, which can take several weeks.
Once you receive the results, be sure to follow any further instructions from the lab regarding any mitigation efforts that may be necessary. You can contact your state radon office for contact information for professionals who can help you with radon mitigation.
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